D.C. Alexander - Intriguing Plots and Enthralling Settings
D.C. Alexander is a former federal agent. His debut novel, The Legend of Devil's Creek, was a #1 best seller on Amazon. His critically acclaimed second novel, The Shadow Priest, was called "a great beach read" by the USA TODAY Network. He is also a former judge for the annual International Thriller Writers Best Thriller Awards. He was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, and now lives in Louisville, Kentucky. As our Author of the Day, Alexander tells us all about his book, Chasing The Monkey King.
Please give us a short introduction to what Chasing the Monkey King is about.
A gifted but broken down federal agent is hired by a wealthy and powerful Seattle family to find out what happened to their niece who disappeared in China while on assignment for the U.S. government.
What inspired you to write about a federal agent who has to figure out why someone disappeared in China?
This story involves work I used to do for the U.S. government entailing the investigation of Chinese companies accused of unfair international trade practices. The reality of this work is that unarmed U.S. investigators are, for extended periods of time, utterly in the hands of their hosts in China—often in very remote locations. Sometimes the investigators are threatened—particularly when they uncover wrongdoing on the part of the company they're looking at—because millions and millions of dollars in trade are often at stake.
Tell us more about Lars Severin. What makes him tick?
Severin is a man scarred and haunted by personal tragedy. His once very promising career was derailed through his struggles with alcohol abuse. He struggles to find purpose. He struggles with depression. Despite this, he's a gifted investigator and puzzle solver with a big heart.
How much research did this book require from you?
This book required very little research as it involves work I once did. I always strive for accuracy and realism in my stories. This one, while a work of fiction, presents an accurate picture of what really goes on in the trenches of the so-called U.S.-China "trade war." My hope is that readers learn things they don't get from headlines or quick stories in the news—things that may fascinate them.
What did you have the most fun with when writing this book?
I loved writing the dialogue between the two protagonists. It feels real to me and reminds me of friends I've had over the years.
Is there an underlying message you wish to relay about basic human nature through your characters?
Fundamental needs aside, the seemingly insatiable human desire for more—more money, more property, more power, more control—has to be contained for civilization to survive.
Do you ever have days when writing is a struggle? If so, what do you do to combat it?
I probably struggle, to some extent, on at least half of the days I write. I've learned that if I just force myself to sit there and start cranking it out, as often as not things begin to flow after 15 or 20 minutes.
What are you working on right now?
I'm about 55,000 words into a murder mystery set in the Puget Sound region in 1922—the days of prohibition, rumrunners, anti-Asian immigration disputes, and widespread government corruption. The story opens with the discovery of a fishing boat adrift near the U.S.-Canada maritime border. When the boat is towed in, the salvagers discover the boat is full of blood and bullet holes and its crew missing. That's all you get for now.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
"Alexander's characters are complicated, and whether his protagonists are interrogating suspects or shooting the breeze with one another, they do it with cocky aplomb."
—USA TODAY Network
Praise for Chasing the Monkey King:
"A compelling read. The dialogue is witty, the plot intriguing, and the settings enthralling."
—Robert Dugoni, Internationally Best-Selling Author of My Sister’s Grave
"Entertainment so involving you won't realize you're being educated too."